With its new Surface Go 2-in-1, Microsoft wants business travellers to think big but work small.
'Thinking big' means packing a Windows 10 experience with nine hours of battery life plus an optional alcantara keyboard, digital stylus and 4G – pretty much the baseline of the Surface Pro concept.
'Working small' sees the Surface Go downsized to a 10 inch but still high-res screen, with a Twiggy-esque 8.3mm profile which tips the scales at just over 520 grams. In other words, just about the right size to take on Apple's classic iPad.
That similarity extends to Microsoft's decision to bundle the Surface Go with a special edition of Windows 10 Home dubbed 'S Mode', which limits your ability to install apps to what's available from the online Windows Store.
There's no charge to upgrade to the unrestricted version of Windows 10 Home, although the heftier Windows 10 Pro isn't on the options menu.
When the Surface Go hits Australian shelves on August 28, the starting spec will includes 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and WiFi for $599.
That's easily and quickly bumped up by adding the Type Cover keyboard and stylus (at $140 each), as well as shooting for more storage (up to 256GB) and memory (which tops out at 8GB). A 4G version of the Surface Go will arrive towards the end of this year.
Standard ports include a Surface Connect port and USB-C socket (just the one, alas) for charging the battery plus connecting other devices including an external 4K monitors, and a microSD card slot for quick storage expansion.
Other hand-me-downs from the Surface Pro include an inbuilt kickstand and a strong but light magnesium chassis.
Microsoft has been beavering away at the Surface Go on and off for years under the codename Libra, and it's positioned as a successor to the Surface 3.
The nine hours of battery life is achieved by a parsimonious Intel 'Pentium Gold' processor, which also tells you something about the Surface Go: this isn't a device meant for heavy lifting. But stick to the likes of Office and you should be fine.
In fact, better than fine, according to Microsoft, with the company claiming that it's worked closely with Intel to optimise the chip (especially for graphics) as well as tuning Windows and Office for the best Surface Go performance.
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